5 Tips To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy
Did you know that every 1 out of 3 kids in the United States is considered overweight or obese! And more and more children are being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes every single day! A lot of this has to do with this generation being addicted to ipads, computers, video games and TV and spending more time sitting down, as against being out and being active, but the food industry and the processed foods our kids are eating is the main problem!
I am a mother of 2 boys! I am always looking for ways in which I can increase the nutritional value of my children’s meals without making them feel like they are missing out! So here are 5 tips that have helped me to get my kids to make healthier choices when it comes to food:
1. Make Dinner Time Media Free:
If you are the kind of parent that spoon-feeds your 4 year old, while they watch TV or play on the ipad, you need to stop right now! This creates complete detachment from food, as you child is so engaged in the media they are watching. They will never learn to enjoy food and to know when they are full if they don’t learn to feed themselves! Make dinnertime media free. Have your kids sit on the table and eat their own food. If they are not in the habit of doing this, it will take a few weeks for them to learn, but I promise it is completely worth it!
2. Make The “Junk Food” At Home, Instead Of Buying It Pre-made Or Frozen:
I don’t know about you, but my kid’s love fried Chicken Tenders, Mac & Cheese and Pizza as much as they love Tandoor Chicken and Paneer! They have a couple of these foods for dinner at least once a week. I figured; as I can’t stop them from eating this food, why not make it at home with the ingredients of my choice? So, I make all of this at home with my choice of chicken breast, milk, cheese, pizza crust and toppings. That way, I can choose fresh, organic ingredients instead of buying store bought frozen chicken tenders or packets of ready to make Mac & Cheese. I can make my own pizza crust with gluten free dough or make a cauliflower pizza base if I like. I also make it a point to involve my kids in cooking. It is a great way to make them more aware of what goes into the food they eat.
3. Add Nutrient Value To The Basics:
We always have marinara sauce for Pastas or Pizzas and white sauce for Mac & Cheese or Casseroles at home. I add any fresh vegetables I can find at the farmers market including spinach, kale, carrots, cucumbers, butternut squash and potatoes to these sauces. Also, Smoothies and Popsicles are really great for sneaking in vegetables! I add spinach, kale, apples, bananas, berries, mangos, cucumbers and any fresh fruits or vegetables in my kids smoothies and frozen popsicles!
4. Use The Right Oils If You Are Frying:
My kids love friend food like fresh fries, so I make sure I use the right oils for frying. I always buy cold pressed or expeller pressed oils, as against refined oils. When oils are refined (processed under high heat), it increases their shelf life but it changes the composition of the oil creating free radicals and other chemicals that are harmful for the body. Most “so called” healthy oils like Canola oil, Corn oil and Soybean oil go through an insane amount of processing with chemical solvents, steamers, neutralizers, de-waxers, bleach and deodorizers before they end up in the bottle. Also, genetically modified corn, canola and soy is used to make these oils! I use organic and cold pressed coconut oil, grape seed oil and purified ghee for frying as they are very stable under high heat and do not oxidize or change composition under high heat.
5. Serve Fruit and Vegetables In Every Meal:
Whether your kids are eating at home or at school, always add fresh fruit and fresh vegetables in the lunch box or on the dinner plate. You kid may or may not choose to eat them, but seeing them every day creates a sub-conscious awareness of these foods being a part of a healthy meal. You never know when they will decide to try that piece of cucumber or broccoli! Now does this mean that my kids never eat Mac Donald’s? Of course they do! I think the 80-20 rule applies to kids, just like it applies to adults! If you can get them to eat wholesome food, made from fresh, local ingredients 80% of the time, then the 20% of crap that they eat at places that are our of your control will not hurt their health. Also, I feel that making healthy eating choices will become a part of your child’s lifestyle if they grow up with it.
If you found my tips helpful, please SHARE this blog with your friends! Also, I would love to know what your kids like to eat in the comments below.
Much Love, Uma